BURLESON, Texas (BP)–During a memorial service in honor of their father, the daughters of slain Southern Baptist hospital administrator Bill Koehn made public letters they had written to their father after they received news of his death.
The letters, friends and family said, were part of the daughters’ process of grieving and a way to honor their father’s service. Janelda Koehn Pearce and Samantha Koehn McGlothlin granted permission for Baptist Press to reprint the letters.
There are not enough words to express how much I love and respect you. I am proud of the ways you used the precious years you had on earth. I know that on Dec. 30 when you met Jesus, he smiled and said, ‘Welcome home my good and faithful servant!’ I can see the lines of people thanking you for giving to the Lord so they may be saved. I can also see you, because of your very nature, laying the crowns you stored up in heaven at the feet of Jesus.
I celebrate your life and the way you lived it. You taught me to be a cheerful giver of one’s self. Once, when I pouted about setting the table for mom, you told me that God only wants a cheerful giver, not only monetarily but also in service to him. Dad, not only did you preach this principle but you lived it in the ways you gave of yourself, your time, your talents and your money. You always gave cheerfully, never expecting anything in return.
Dad, I am glad you taught me to be thankful ‘in all things.’ Because of what you taught me I can even find things to be thankful for in your death. Your sacrifice was not in vain, in contrast you touched even more lives in your death. God’s kingdom has been and will be glorified in this, the greatest sacrifice you have ever made.
Dad, thank you for showing me how to be a good parent by your example. I’ve always said that if my children loved and respected me as much as I love and respect you, then I will feel as though I am a successful parent. You taught me such priceless values. I only wish your grandchildren could see you demonstrate those qualities like I had the privilege of witnessing. You are a man of incredible integrity, humility and wisdom. Your legacy will live on forever.
I know you never thought your simple life would touch the world but in giving your life, even unto death, for those who loved you, you touched more people than you could ever imagine. You left this earth in great honor and in that you also honored God.
I could not wait until October when we were finally going to be together as a family. Now that will never happen, but as a legacy to you and your wonderful life, every time I think about or long for the things I wish you were here to share I will remind your grandchildren of who you were and we will pray for those who are unsaved, especially those in Yemen.
Daddy, I want you to know that I count it the highest honor to be known as your daughter. Let my life not put you to shame.
I love you Daddy!
Samantha, your ‘Mouse’
— Dear Daddy,
I just wanted to write you and tell you how much I loved and admired you. I love how you held the truth and honesty at a premium. I love how you always tried to learn from problems. You once said after Mom had pneumonia that probably anyone who couldn’t afford meds for pneumonia would get them anyway, after watching Mom struggle just to breathe.
I remember how you taught us that marriage was forever. You epitomized unconditional love.
How proud I am to tell people about the poor children you sent to school. The poor you fed with the proceeds from your crafts. How you ministered to those orphaned boys: toys, food, clothes and medical care. How you cared for the prisoners.
You are in heaven now collecting your long deserved crowns.
How I shall miss the shop time we will never have; the Habitat for Humanity house we won’t build together.
You are free from pain — no more hip pain, no more gout.
You used to say to me when we would leave: ‘God alone knows when we shall see each other again.’ And my response always is: ‘Then we will leave it in his hands.’
I love you, Daddy.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: A DAUGHTER’S LOVE.